Whether you’re looking to stay or visit Victoria Gozo on your holiday to Malta, it’s a great little place to explore the many attractions on offer.
The unofficial capital city on the island of Gozo, Victoria (also called Rabat, Gozo) is the liveliest place on the island and the centre of commercial activity.
Although it can get busy (for local standards), especially on Saturday mornings when the locals run their errands, there’s always a sense of peace around.
Everything in Victoria is easy to reach on foot, so wear a pair of sturdy shoes and walk around to explore the city.
This is also the place where all (public transport) bus routes start and terminate, at the island’s main bus station.
In this guide, I’ll show you around to help you decide on what to see and do, where to stay and where to sample some of the best food in town.
Left with questions? Leave a comment and let me know!
There’s a surprising amount of things to do and places to see in Victoria and in this guide I’ll show you around (virtually).
I’ll start from the most common entry to point to Victoria (Republic Street) and highlight “must-see” places to help you decide what to visit.
TIP: Looking to do more sightseeing in Gozo? Check out my overview of the 10 Best Gozo Day Trips, Tours and Excursions.
Republic street (Triq ir-Repubblika) is the city’s main street and runs through the centre, with a gentle ascend, heading West.
It is home to a few hotspots:
The Citadel (or Cittadella in Maltese) is one of the most commanding landmarks in Gozo. It sits at the top of a hill, strategically positioned there with wide open views out over the whole island.
Built on the site of an early Stone Age settlement, and initially, a small acropolis (fortified city), a castle (castrum in Latin) is known to have been built in its place somewhere around the 13th Century BC.
The citadel as it exists today came to be after a reconstruction project between 1599 and 1622 by the Knights of the Order of St. John. The Knights ruled Malta and decided to build the citadel after the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 to fortify the defences around the islands.
At various stages in history, the site of the Citadel served to protect the local population from corsair attacks. It was included on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (3) in 1998 and is a popular tourist attraction.
Wandering its little alleys, there are a few places and museums to visit within this bastion with massive defensive stone walls (and on its doorstep, like the first place in this list).
TIP: Consider visiting the Citadel at night as well if you can. There’s a serene feel to visiting at this time and the views are even more impressive than during the day.
The Cittadella Visitor Centre provides a great primer on the history of the Citadel and I highly recommend going here. Just half an hour will give you enough background information to understand its history and enrich your visit.
Entrance fee: €5 (Combo ticket with access to the Gozo Archaeology Museum, the Nature Museum, the Old Prisons and the Gran Castello Historic House – listed below).
Opening hours: Daily (9 am – 4:30 pm)
As you enter the main gate of the Cittadella, there’s no escaping the impressive sight of the Cathedral of the Assumption and its steps leading up to its main entrance.
Built between 1697–1711 in Baroque style, the Cathedral is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary and is the “seat” of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gozo.
TIP: As with all places of worship in Malta, please dress appropriately before you enter (women’s shoulders need to be covered, e.g. with a scarf) and be quiet out of respect to worshippers.
The Cathedral Museum is located to the left of the Cathedral (facing its facade) and houses several exhibits. Renovated in 2022, there’s a lot on display here, with over 2,000 items.
You can find several paintings, statues, coats-of-arms, ecclesiastical silverware, special issue coins and other items here. Focused on religious artefacts, these historical items tell a big part of the religious character of culture in Gozo over the past 4-5 centuries.
TIP: Before heading to the next stop, it’s good to know that behind the Cathedral Museum you can get great views of Gozo island from the different bastions.
The Gran Castello Historic House is actually a cluster of interconnected houses, built in the 18th century, and belonging to wealthy local families.
This museum gives you a feel of what life was like here, roughly three centuries ago. From the internals and decorations of the different rooms to trades and skills honed by the local population of the time, and more.
Curious about the local flora and fauna in Gozo? The Gozo Nature Museum has a lot to offer in terms of old fossils and bone fragments, butterflies, natural gems and more.
Neatly organised on a few floors, this little museum is worth a quick visit while touring the Citadel.
As you walk back towards the main gate, the Old Prison is located on the small square in front of the Cathedral, next to the Courts of Justice.
A small place, the Old Prison gives you a glimpse of where criminals were put behind bars between the mid-16th and start of the 20th century. What’s special here isn’t necessarily the cramped cells or the eerie, haunting feel, it’s the historical graffiti and inscriptions on its walls that tell the most vivid stories.
You can finish your Citadel tour with a visit to the Gozo Archaeology Museum, another small place that tells the story of early civilisations in Gozo.
Get my recommendations on the best day trips, boat trips, excursions and activities and book in advance!
With the Citadel being a big focal point for life in Gozo but being small in size, it’s only natural that a village started forming on its perimeter. This early formed part of Victoria is nowadays referred to as the Old Town.
In this part of the city, you can walk around to find a small labyrinth of small streets and alleys, full of colour and character. It’s a great place for a little wander around.
This famous little square in the heart of the Old Town is a lively place with several cafes serving customers on their terraces. The main landmark here is St George Basilica, with its beautiful facade facing the square.
Tucked away in the alley left of the basilica (facing its facade) you can find the small Il-Ħaġar Museum. This museum showcases some of the local history and culture, specific to Gozo over the centuries.
Before heading up to Independence square, you can take a left turn at the big roundabout on Republic Street. You’ll pass the bus station and head up to St. Francis Square.
Much more of a local’s place, there are a few small cafes that line this little square, as well as a small church: The Conventual Church of St Francis of Assisi.
The square is another great place to sit down for a coffee and observe the laid-back style of local life in Victoria.
Here’s a handy map that lays out the various places I mentioned, to help prepare you for your visit.
Thinking of staying in Victoria? These are my best recommendations for hotels in the city.
The Duke Boutique Hotel is an excellent family-run hotel in the heart of town that offers a touch of luxury and plenty of comfort to its visitors. Tried and tested (on several occasions), and this is my favourite place to stay in Victoria.
If you’re looking for a B&B with a touch of luxury, Casa Gemelli is a great option. Set inside a traditional old townhouse in the core of Victoria, you get a blend of comfort and traditional Maltese architecture in a great location.
Maria Townhouse is another well-reviewed B&B in Victoria, located at a stone’s throw of St. George’s Square in the Old Town. This family-run guesthouse has hosted many happy travellers for over three decades and offers good quality accommodation at reasonable rates.
Looking to power up in the morning or grab a bite on the way? Here are a few of my best recommendations for breakfast and brunch.
Located on the corner of the main roundabout in Republic Street, Capitan Spriss is a cosy little café for Italian coffees, pastries and sweets.
A tiny café close to St. Francis Square, this is a great little place for breakfast or brunch. With just four tables indoors, be sure to call in advance to reserve a table though!
Preti Cafe is my choice for a coffee and snack at St. George’s Square. Good coffee, good service and a nice atmosphere to boot.
Looking for some delicious homemade ice cream? Vanilla+ Gelateria is a great place to cool down in summer with a large selection of flavours. They also cater for a range of dietary restrictions.
In Victoria, you’ll mostly find smaller eateries, with most bigger restaurants being located closer to the sea. The following two are the only ones I’d recommend for dining out in the city.
This fairly new Italian restaurant in Victoria is another great destination for Italian cuisine. Their pizzas in particular get great reviews.
Tucked away in a quiet road around the corner from Independence Square, Maldonado Bistro Gozo is one of the best restaurants in Victoria, serving Mediterranean cuisine.
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